Cost of Replacing Light Pole (DUI Collision)

Hi all. I crashed my car into an Energex light pole and blew mid range. Car got written off, and I didn't claim it against my comprehensive insurance since they wouldn't cover it anyway. I know I messed up.

Received a letter last week from Energex to place the blame. I understand I will have to pay for the light pole since it got smashed up under my control, and neither my comp or QLD compulsary CTP will cover it. (Light pole only, not a stobie or power pole. Picture for reference

Does anyone know a ball park figure for the replacement of these poles? I have seen rough numbers online between $5k to $52k, which is a huge variance.


  • +27 votes

    Unfortunately the rough numbers you’ve seen online are all accurate as something like this completely depend on the location circumstances. Things like how many staff are required and any temporary traffic management (busy roads v local roads are another issue) are usually incorporated into those costs.

    Only thing you can do is await the cost you’re given by Energex.

    Source: in a previous life I quoted for a range of signage and lighting costs a couple of times. The costs really varied. Even for the same thing 500m apart.

    • interesting, i'd think u need things like traffic control, crane etc to put this up
      2 people standing at two ends raising the stop / slow sign at night would cost god-knows-how-much
      then machinery and stuff, switching over the wiring etc
      they probably would also need to remove the pole and dispose instead of just coming and install
      and finally slap 10% GST as most people wont be claiming GST credits
      i feel more like 80-90k but im not a cost estimator
      just that when i was working on transmission line projects i felt like those costs add up very very quickly

      • I hope most people wouldn't claim GST credits on that. Unless you are in the business of running over light poles…

    • You're quite right, depends on where and what circumstances. There are minor differences in cost between the actual pole types (rigid, slip base, frangible, etc.). Similarly for luminaires (bulbs). The main variance in cost is more likely to be in the installation effort due to site conditions, traffic management and approvals. The approvals can often be protracted as well depending on who the light rating belongs to and how it's managed (eg. the pole could be owned by local council, but Energex is responsible for maintaining the lights). The pole may also have other services running through it (eg. Telstra equipment mounted, or shared with traffic signals). And don't forget removal and disposal fees of the damaged pole, but that's relatively pocket change.

      By the time the appropriate approvals have gone through engineers, paper pushers, maintenance crew, traffic management supplier etc, you could be looking at half the cost right there, even before you start on the ground.

      I haven't even gone into the costs of post crash investigations, road safety audits, etc. But you don't have to pay for that. We do… the tax payers.

      By the way, from what I understand, it is quite a recent phenomenon for asset owners in road corridors to claim damages against at-fault parties. Previously they used to just wear it and let the tax payer foot the bill, but with more barriers, roadside equipment and increase in traffic volumes, our various government jurisdictions don't have enough maintenance budgets to handle the increasing number of 'hit and runs'.

      Source: I design and construct major transport infrastructure

      • "Previously they used to just wear it"

        They could still wear it, its just more profitable to go after people, so they do (e.g. Singapore Power International / Cheung Kong Infrastructure).

        • "<strikethrough>They</strikethrough><i>Taxpayers</i> could still wear it, it's just more <strikethrough>profitable</strikethrough><i>fair</i> to go after people<i> who did it</i>"

          • @derrida derider: 1) They already have crews that are working fixing poles due to age and accidents from nature, so their cost is not actually that high.
            2) Before they used to socialise the cost. Lets say 1 poles down per day due to road accident (365 poles per year). The cost is about 3.5c per year. Or we can charge an individual $5,000.

            Apparently charging $5,000 is fairer (even though there could be multiple reasons for the accident - sun in the eyes, dust on the road, etc.
            As you hate socialising cost you must really hate medicare…

            • @IHatePeople: This attitude is what's wrong with society.

              The OP made a serious error in judgement despite all manner of education informing him NOT to do exactly what he did. He needs to pay to the fix the problem. The cost to repair is already socialized, it will get paid for by taxes initially. Then we'll spend more taxes trying to retrieve the cost him.

              To put it another way, my taxes don't need to go up because some moron couldn't put the beers down. He made the screw up, he can take a paper route until he pays for it.

              You can contribute to his gofundme if you feel he's hard done by.

              • @Twilight: 3.5c thats the cost.

                Your whining about 3.5c? You are literally whining about 3.5c. Not about the massive profits that SPI have made gold plating the network? No you wont complain about that cost, which is costing you and your fellow citizens $3Bn a year (which adds $120 per year to your electricity bill)… no, you are complaining about 3.5 cents, which is not even raised through taxes.
                The post you made would of taken longer than 3.5c in your time.

                As you hate socialising the cost, my guess is that you also want to ban medicare, get rid of the police, fire brigade and hospitals. Also roads tend to cost.

                Oh and btw considering the top 10% pay 45% of the tax burden, my guess is that you are actually a net cost to society.
                So my recommendation is for you to smoke cancer sticks so you can be a net contributor.

                • @IHatePeople: @Ihatepeople Your rants are completely irrational and unconnected with reality, much less the topic you're replying to.

                  • @Twilight: Unconnected with reality?

                    Yes I think its mainly unconnected with reality because I suggested the money came out of your power bill and you think it comes out of your taxes? I didn't realize my PAYG taxes have a pole component.

                    In terms of cost though - Which part is unconnected to reality? The $3Bn per year you paid on needlessly gold plating the network? Well you are correct because a consumer group actually suggested it was $5Bn not $3Bn, which obviously would increase your bill to $200.

                    Where do you think some of that money goes? Obviously Not to Singapore Power International / Cheung Kong Infrastructure.
                    No they are certainly not the beneficiaries of any of that money.
                    Since I am so unconnected with reality perhaps you could tell me how much Singapore Power International / Cheung Kong Infrastructure make from Australia's electricity grid?

                    Yes I am ranting. I am ranting because people are so stupid that they believe a 3.5c cost is important but a $120 cost which is given to power corps (for no real benefit to the end user) is unimportant. And its because of that, the power companies get away with it.

                    I am happy to admit I am wrong, so perhaps instead of just throwing accusations out there ("completely irrational", etc), perhaps you could tell us how many power poles are damaged in car accidents that are the result of illegal activity (such as drink driving, speeding, etc)? I mean since it is such an important issue…. (obviously much more important than $3Bn spent on gold plating the network).

                    • @IHatePeople: You're disconnected with reality because you're choosing a thread about the cost of replacing a light pole in Queensland to wank about your, clearly, deep seated issues with an overseas entity who has investments in a completely different part of the country.

                      • @Twilight: At the beginning some said "Previously they used to just wear it" and after doing the figures I came to the conclusion that they could still wear it, its just they make more money if they try and push the cost to the end user, who is actually already paying for it.

                        You then started ranting about it coming from "ma taxes", which even more completely irrational and disconnected with reality than my rant (which was of initially 2 lines of text) considering it does not even come from your taxes.

                        Further you accuse me of going off topic, when you actually stated: "This attitude is what's wrong with society."
                        Hence by saying that I think you really broaden the topic from the cost of power pole to "This attitude is what's wrong with society"

                        I questioned that because I think that statement in the big scheme of things is stupid.
                        Mainly because it would cost the end user 0.35c per year for pole replacement and the end individual user in Queensland is already is paying $44 for infrastructure for Zero benefit.

                        At the end of the day I couldn't care who owns the power poles, what I dislike is getting rammed up the a** by ANY entity.
                        Thats what I think is wrong with Society, not the 'attitude' issue.

                        Of course perhaps you are happy that $3Bn-$5Bn leaves the country for no appreciable benefit - Hey more power to you (pardon the pun).
                        Or the fact that the Qld Gov charges $220M to the end user for also no real benefit.

                        Sorry for looking at the big picture (which you actually introduced by talking about society's attitude and taxes). Next time I will be close minded and refuse to look at any externalities, including socialising the cost, and wondering why we would care if it only costs us 0.35c per year when the entity is already ramming us up the a** to the tune of $114 per household for less and less benefit (which of course is off topic from the pole cost, except if you look at the fact that previously power companies used to wear it and I'm questioning that policy).

            • @IHatePeople:

              Or we can charge an individual $5,000.

              Or the individual can not drink and drive and NOT run into light poles.

              Plus - "socialised" doesn't mean the cost is going away. It's just being paid by others - in this case taxpayers.

              • @HighAndDry: Number one, not every pole is destroyed because the person was drunk. There could be a whole range of reasons - avoiding an animal on the road (still guilty - they should of hit it), travelling 2kms over the speed limit (which is considered speeding by Qld Government & so they would pay), poor conditions of the road (like the Bruce Highway). Of course spending the $ for an expert to determine if it was the road, would cost a lot more than $5k, so people will be forced to pay it, rather than challenge it. The power companies would know this.

                Secondly my argument was that they (providers) make more than enough to cover it (Qld Gov makes $220,000,000, Overseas Corps make $3Bn-$5Bn).
                But as we get more revenue creep for less and less services, it becomes obvious that the intent is not to save the bill payers any money, but rather collect more money from anybody they can. I'm happy for the criminals to pay, IF there is a corresponding decrease in price for everyone else - but there isn't. There is zero refund if less people hit poles, rather if you look at your electricity bill, it seems to rise even though we have made drink driving illegal (meaning less people are hitting poles).

                Thirdly I expect that if anyone is injured due to any illegal act on road we should obviously charge them and then try to recover the costs for the medical treatment. Same can be said for an illegal act. I will let all the adicts know. Also we should close down the heroin injection room that has saved countless lives, as it's just being paid by others - in this case taxpayers. We socialise cost because its usually its an extremely minor cost to everyone and not a big cost to individuals, thats why US hospital stays are massively expensive, and ours a free, small cost to everyone, to save a large cost on an individual. I think the cost of 0.35c per year is worth the $5k to $50k cost to an individual, considering we are already paying infrastructure costs already.

                Finally stop using the word taxpayers. Taxpayers do NOT pay for it. Electricity bill payers pay for it in their bills either explicitly (infrastructure charge) or its hidden, and passed from the retailer to the infrastructure provider.
                Taxpayers do NOT pay for poles. Even if its owned by the QLD Gov - its still a statutory corporation, which charges/bills to pay for infrastructure (the taxpayer is Not suddenly on the hook when bushfires burn down poles) and provides a dividend of $220,000,000, meaning ALL the costs are paid for before that money is sent to the taxpayer in the form of profits.

                (I will ignore the point where power companies might try to charge the individual more than the real cost (i.e they charge their workers out a $100 per hour, but in reality only pay them $35 per hour, same for equipment fees and charges) for extra profiteering, as I don't know how prevalent it is.

                • @IHatePeople: Firstly - in any case where the driver isn't significantly negligent, insurance would cover it. Having insurance is being responsible, and insurance is precisely what you're suggesting: Spreading a high-cost/low-probability event's risk over many many payers.

                  Secondly - it doesn't matter how much money a company makes. If you hit a car driven by someone who's rich, even if they're rich enough to cover it, you are, and should be, responsible for paying for the damage.

                  Thirdly - there are cases where publicly funding things is appropriate. But not all cases (i.e. not in this case), and the actual cost does not change. Think of it this way - the money that would've gone to repairing this light pole can now go towards other welfare programs.

                  • @HighAndDry: Firstly - Go read the 3rd page - guy had to pay the cost of a pole, because his wife had seizures (which they thought was a brain tumor), because the insurance company blamed on a suicide attempt. Sure he got a refund, but a great load of stress for 0.35c right?
                    As he said if it wasn't for his pa being a dragon he might not of even got it back.
                    So in this case the driver was not significantly negligent (seizure), but still had to pay (or risk a credit default).
                    Now he could afford to pay.
                    What would happen if he could not afford to pay? Bankruptcy (or non payment)?

                    So in both scenarios the cost is socialized. Either through insurance or through bankruptcy (or non payment).
                    You are already paying for it in a socialised way, it just goes through a tortured route to get there. So it lacks efficiency.

                    Also if one can't afford to pay then they probably couldn't afford to fight it either.
                    what about scenarios where the driver is not at fault? Bad road, avoiding animals, etc.
                    Most law firms are simply going to say don't fight it, pay it.
                    Justice denied by cost is very real, just read the testimonies of the Banking Royal Commission (specifically CBA taking over Bankwest rural portfolio, and bankrupting people who were up to date with mortgage payments).
                    Yet all this could be avoided for a grand total of 0.35c and which is, ironically, for the most part is being socialised anyway (you just don't see it).

                    Secondly - "it doesn't matter how much money a company makes.", well it does because as someone said before they used to wear the cost - I looked at the profits and thought, yes they could easily continue to wear, as it would make less than 1% impact on their bottom line (my guess its about 0.2%). So yeah it does actually matter.
                    In terms of your second point - do you think drug addicts should get emergency treatment at hospitals without paying? Because just like damage, that is a cost to society. I mean with addicts its even worse than a road 'accident', because they are directly injecting something into their body, but an accident can simply be an accident.

                    Thirdly - what are the rules for where its allowed to socialise certain things and not others? I think its more than appropriate that electricity companies wear it due to the abusive profiteering (though gold plating the network - which is adding to the cost of the network, to get back a Guaranteed return with zero benefits to the population, which is probably illegal but almost impossible to prove).

                    Part of your argument seems to revolve around the fact that only 1 state which currently owns the electricity network benefits. However it seems that the more populous states do not get this benefit and I'm not sure how much a benefit it really is either - is it just a more unique way of taxing people $114 per household and hiding it in an extra "charge"? Again not very efficient.
                    And finally when the power companies get sold off (you do realise they have been corporatised for a reason), I'm guessing you will be quite happy to receive zero benefit.

                    I would also note most welfare programs are paid directly via the Federal Government (welfare payments or grants to the States/welfare bodies). But considering the money saved will be so dramatic could you please tell us exactly how much money in repairing light poles would go to welfare programs ??? (of course this assumes the State Gov decides to spend these extra funds on welfare - which is highly debatable). So the 2 don't have a sufficiently close nexus for anyone to say that.

                    So its lacks efficiency, can deny justice, doesn't benefit the majority of the population in any way (State issue), and which won't benefit the current state if it gets sold off (it will be sold one day) and has an absolute minor cost compared to the cost the consumer is already paying (0.02% of their household bill - lol!!!!).

                    Also the ones who could be wearing the cost could be the companies (legislation), and therefore at the end of the day shareholders who seem to hold their investments in overseas tax free jurisdictions.

        • Energex (Energy Queensland) is 100% owned by the State of Queensland. Any time they pay the cost of fixing someone’s screwup, that’s the taxpayer footing that bill. Yeah nah thanks.

          • @Kyanar: Yes the $220,000,000 EXTRA which the Queensland Gov is slugging you ($44 per individual) is such a detriment compared to 3.5c in extra cost of poles.

  • Question: why wouldn't the insurance cover it ? Isn't this 3rd party property damage and should be covered by insurance

    • +89 votes

      Driving drunk is probably against the PDS

      • My bad. I might be drunk too, completely skipped that bit while reading the post.

      • But usually insurance covers you against just "blowing medium" - its only if you're high range they say "all bets are off". But in the OP's case I'd suggest this is not the first time he has "stuffed up" (his words) this particular way so if he can get insurance at all he probably does have a special clause.
        I've very little sympathy for OP - what if that pole had been a person?

        • I think you will find once the insurance company knows you were over the limit they will say bad luck you maybe lucky with low range but no way will they pay at 0.08 or higher

    • I share that sentiment. I shouldn't have done it and only have myself to blame. I will be paying for my actions, but am worried about rough costs while I wait 2 weeks for a response from Energex.

      • Hey yeh lol. Like saying I killed someone out of rage. I know i shouldnt have done it and have myself to blame. Please help me.

        • No your example is cbade, because there is a variable here - the cost to replace the pole.

          Murder tends to be a fixed outcome - charged and if found guilty, sentencing guidelines. Here the range is cheap ($7k) to silly ($50k).
          Op is just finding out what a reasonable amount would be.

      • I work for a power distribution company in Victoria. If the picture you provided is similar to the one you hit then the costs should be around 3k to 7k. It's not just about replacing a steel pole but it also includes traffic control costs as this is a subcontracted service. Isolation of power will be required during the pole replacement too. But it is a simple pole replacement and should only require 2 trucks and crew plus traffic control. Good luck.

    • +167 votes

      Well, two posts if you count the light pole as well :(

    • New member, 1 post, hmmm.

      Must this be pointed out every post? We know users want to have some anonymity when posting threads like this, so they create a throwaway.

      OzBargain should just bite the bullet and enable anonymous posting, lmao

      • I’m surprised the first comment actually had reasonable info rather than judgement or wasn't:

        “what did the light pole company say when you asked them”

        • To be fair, though, the: What did the completely relevant third party whom should have been contacted first say when you asked them? is fair a lot of the time

          • @ThithLord: ​True, there are many frustrating posts where people seem to be outsourcing their thinking completely.

            ​It's amazing though how a random question like this ​​can find ​possibly ​useful responses. Not one but two users with experience in light pole estimation!​

            Many times OPs just express themselves poorly when seeking those with experience/advice in a situation

      • No Band28 or NFC either…

      • The thing we often forget is, OzBargain is actually for bargains. Anon accounts make a bunch of dodginess and spamming easier.

  • u can be thankful it was a light post and not another car or pedestrians! lesson learnt! dont drink and drive

  • is it a power pole with electrical lines or just a light pole?
    power poles run about $10,000 in SA as far as I remember from another in a similar situation.

  • +10 votes

    I used to do contracting work for energex 10 years ago. I remember being told by a linesman how they moved a pole 2 metres (due to a new house build) and it cost the owner $8000.

    That was for a new pole as well.

  • I suspect it wont be cheap. Better get that instalment plan into action. At least no power lines to it. Dogman and crew to get them sorted. You should thank yourself it was only the pole and you didn't hurt yourself or someone else.


    Something like that may require traffic control and a hydraulic crane. >$200 p/h two man team plus >$100 p/h wet hire. Energex may send a team of four. One doing all the work while the other three supervise.

  • If I were you, I would be signing up to every credit card with bonus point offers right now

  • Picture for reference:

    Looks OK to me.

  • Knew someone who did this 20 years ago. Haven't kept in touch., But I wouldn't he surprised if he is still paying it off. Public works cost a lot of 💰

    • I knew someone that did this in the middle of the night - only one other witness and he managed to get away. Wasn't a DUI, so insurance would have covered him - had he not been too dumb to actually have insurance.

      • What reason did he give to Insurer? The good ole Hit-a-Roo?

        • He didn't, cause he didn't have insurance.

          But, still to this day, he claims he wasn't being stupid on the road - it was heavily raining and he went over a puddle/rut on the road and lost control. Old rear wheel drive, no traction control or anything and fairly worn tyres.

          Passenger side of the car was completely caved in - thankfully no one was sitting there. It's baffling how he didn't hurt himself and managed to drive that wreck home.

  • MS Paint diagram plz

  • No choice but to wait for the bill to get the real cost… estimates seem quite varied.
    Man… when all combined that bit of fun will sting the pocket.. dui fine, car written off, power pole replacement and will have to declare a dui on next comp insurance renewal… ouch!!!!
    Wrong to drink and drive but not many can say they have never done it… I was not as unlucky in my younger years thankfully.

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